The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) follows John Marshall, a deputy officer with the Snow Hollow Police Department, as he contends with a series of vicious local murders while trying to maintain his sobriety as he recovers from alcoholism.
Writer and director Jim Cummings stars as Marshall in this directorial follow-up to his 2018 Sundance darling Thunder Road. Cummings managed to strike a balance between horror and comedy as the police department struggles to track down and take down whatever is killing the citizens of Snow Hollow, Utah. In many ways, the film is reminiscent of the Coen Brothers classic Fargo (1996); it is funny when it needs to be, but takes itself seriously where the horror is concerned. Cummings also brings a sense of heart to The Wolf of Snow Hollow, evident in the relationship between Marshall and his estranged teenage daughter Jenna Marshall (Chloe East).
Special effects foreman Chuck Roundy -of Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019) notoriety- and visual effects team Mike Cisneros and Justin Sacerno (Spree (2020)) showed restraint in their use of CGI and relied on quality practical effects. This restraint was mirrored in cinematographer Natalie Kingston’s style.The decision brings a sense of clarity and isolation to the setting of Snow Hollow, Utah, and sets the stage perfectly for dynamic shots of “the wolf” in action.
The entire cast gave a good performance, indicating a mastery of direction by Cummings. The standouts were Cummings himself, Riki Lindholme, and Robert Forrester. Best known for her comedic work in Comedy Central shows Another Period and Garfunkel & Oates, Lindholme plays Officer Julia Robson as the straight-woman to Cummings’ devolving semi-seriousness. In his last role before his passing last year, Robert Forester grounded the film in his sense of weariness as Sheriff Hadley. The three brought a believable chemistry to the horrific scenario they found themselves in.
Cummings’s good direction, striking cinematography, and good performances from the cast amount to a successful and enjoyable watch. The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a solid directorial follow-up and a fun slasher film. Perfect for the spooky season upon us.
Score: 3.5 out of 5